Tag Archives: living in qatar

Social Creatures

One of the great things about living in a compound is that you get to meet lots of new people and socialising becomes incredibly easy and simply, I guess you can call it socialising for those too lazy to live in the real world!

Socialising Made Easy!  Social Animal.

It may all sound rather hippyish, but living in a compound as part of a community has tremendous advantages, especially when you have a very sociable 4 year old, and her parents are equally as sociable too.

This evening we had a couple of people round for pizza and garlic bread (diet went right out of the window tonight), there were three kids and a few grown ups, it was a great way to end the day.

The day started rather early, earlier than usual but a little later than what it will be starting on Sunday. I dropped Cathy off at school at 6:30 and off she went to do her finger prints etc etc. When things are organised properly, it’s amazing what can be achieved with relative ease, by 7:30 she was on her way back to school to continue her day.

Katja had another play date this morning which for the second day in a row allowed me to crack on with a bunch of stuff I had to do – I collected her at 12 and went home, a little later I collected Cathy and we did some shopping. In some ways, this is the sort of routine I am referring to as part of settling down, leading what can be deemed as a normal(ish) day.

As I was walking to pick Katja up, I could really feel the sun burning, it is only a maximum of a couple of hundred yards from home but you can really feel it. I must admit I felt very guilty even thinking about having a moan about the heat. I think the only people allowed to moan about the heat are those who have to work in it, those who have transport without air con and go to stinking hot accommodation. I have no right to even contemplate moaning about how hot it is, I get to work in an air conditioned property and drive an air conditioned vehicle.

The rest of the week is looking relatively quiet as far as plans are concerned, we decided that rather than going out blind looking for places, we will decide where to go first and head in that direction rather than driving aimlessly, there’s loads to discover here. On Saturday we are popping in to the rugby club, Kati is interested in rugby and I would like to encourage her to do it as it is such a great sport!

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Meet the Teacher!

All good things have to come to an end, in this case it’s Katja’s summer holidays which are very quickly coming to an end! As a schoolboy, I remember so clearly the end of the summer holidays, the beginning of term used to feel darkness which became lighter and lighter as the holidays approached!

Back to School for Katja! HAPPY FACE LOLZ

So, today was meet the teacher day at Qatar Academy, it is basically an opportunity for kids to meet their new teacher and to familiarise themselves with their new environment, particularly important for kids who just like Katja are newbies in this particular school.

She has three lovely teachers, yes, you read correctly, three! One is the main teacher, one is an assistant and the third one is an Arabic support teacher who will also be teaching Arabic, currently, I think there are 19 kids in her class. The classroom is bright and nicely decorated with lots of resources at hand, there are plenty of activities and toys of every description, of course, Katja had to go and find the anatomically correct dolls and start commenting on the various bits and pieces….bless her. Meet the teacher days are also an opportunity for parents to meet the teacher too and to find out about various things happening etc, etc. In our case it is a bit simpler as Cathy works in the same school so we already know a lot of stuff about routines etc, etc, etc. I was handed a form to fill in which really took me back to my schooldays, I’m not sure if I passed or failed, however, one thing I can say is that my handwriting is appalling, it was never good to start off with but as I am becoming more mature (I am trying to avoid the word older!) it seems to have become worse, I guess I hardly ever do any writing other than on a computer which doesn’t help a great deal. I am hoping that because they probably won’t understand my handwriting I may not have failed! OK, in fairness it was a simple(ish) form with lots of hard questions such as discipline procedures at home, educational targets and what’s the meaning of life!

Cathy’s also meeting parents today, however, shes doing it as a teacher, all the hard work from the past few weeks culminating in an impressive display for parents and a welcoming environment for her new students.

Then as part of our new routine we are off shopping for the week and to finish the day we’ll meet up with friends in the club house for a bite to eat and a swim, not a bad way to end the day, week, summer holidays!

 

Living in the Middle East

I know it is a bit premature for me to make too many comments regarding life in the Middle East as we have virtually just got off the plane (only been here just under 3 weeks), however, from what I have seen and experienced so far, if anyone has the opportunity to do it, then it is well worth doing it. I can only say I wish we had done this many years ago! But then again, the time wasn’t right for us, so I guess this is the right time for us to be here.

Service

Many countries (no names mentioned) should really pay some attention to their customer service, or should I say, their total disregard to customers which they consider acceptable service. You see, the problem is that when  you experience bad service day in day out in every establishment then you accept is as “the norm”. Since we arrived here, we have experience nothing but excellent service, courteous people (except on the roads) and a general level of service which we have never really experienced before, not even back home in the UK. One thing to watch out is the famous, “yes sir, we do have it in stock, but it’s the last one” (I fell for that one yesterday). One example of service was buying a printer in Carrefour today (cheap as chips), knowledgeable and helpful staff, I was in and out within a matter of minutes, simple, painless and effortless.

Driving

Well, driving here is a different story, all the courteous manners I referred to above go out of the window as soon as they get in a car, it is very much like driving in Bulgaria but on better roads and rather than being cut up by and Audi or a Merc with blacked out windows it’s by a 4 x 4 or a maniac in a pick up. The scariest part of driving is when driving on a roundabout, you just never know whether they will stop or not, some do, some don’t, so far my approach is assume they probably won’t stop and expect the unexpected at any time.

Heat

Dashboard reading 50 degrees!

Dashboard reading 50 degrees!

Yes, it is hot, for those who follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you will see photos I post every so often (like the one on the right) showing some extreme temperature which in most peoples’ mind, they struggle to get their head around. The biggest issue I have found so far has not been the temperature but the humidity, 79 or even up to 80% humidity makes it a bit “yuck” but we are extremely fortunate that we have air con throughout the apartment, it comes through fins in every corner of the rooms and we have a car with excellent air con. The reality is that you have to carry a cardi or similar for when you go into buildings because it is so cold! I can only compare this to the reverse of living in Bulgaria during winter. Temperatures of -15 or -20 (some extreme cases even colder still). In this case you seek for every opportunity to be in a warm environment. We used to go from a warm apartment to a warm car to a warm shopping centre and you wouldn’t spend much time outside.

19:00 hrs, 36 degrees, pleasant breeze walking around the compound

19:00 hrs, 36 degrees, pleasant breeze walking around the compound

This evening the girls had a hair cut, the mobile English hairdresser came home and sorted their hair out. After tea we popped out for a walkabout the compound which gave Kati the opportunitiy to ride her bike. She played in the park area and then the sprinklers came on, Kati had a fab time walking under the sprinklers and getting soaking wet (water is warm!).
Cathy is off to have her fingerprints done tomorrow, no, she’s not been a naughty girl, this is one of the stages in obtaining our RPs, we had been waiting for this appointment since last week when she had her medical (chest x-ray and blood test for TB and VD, all standard procedure even though this was done in Spain 4 or 5 months ago). So off we go to school tomorrow at 6:45 am (everything here is done early). Tomorrow afternoon we have to go and buy Katja’s school uniform and then roll on Sunday (first day of school, yes, it does feel weird!)
Katja had a play date today with her friend (who will also be in the same class as her) in one of the blocks close to us, she’s back there again tomorrow, this is great news for me as it gives me a chance to crack on with things I desperately need to do.

Beautiful Qatar

For a country which is mainly desert, there are some awesome places, we really, really cannot wait for temperatures to come down a tad so we can really get our teeth stuck into some serious exploring.

Umm Bab, Qatar, the sun sets... Photo by Ziad Hunesh

Umm Bab, Qatar, the sun sets…
Photo by Ziad Hunesh

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